The White House acknowledged what many economists considered obvious through much of last year: President Donald Trump’s trade stance depressed economic growth and business investment. “Uncertainty generated by trade negotiations dampened investment,” Trump chief economist Tomas Philipson told reporters in a briefing on the annual Economic Report of the President released on Thursday.
The admission contrasted with Trump’s repeated assertions that his tariff tactics hadn’t hurt the economy while swelling the government’s tax coffers. Philipson, who is acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, declined to say how much of an effect trade uncertainty has had. He did though point to a Federal Reserve study that suggested it could reduce gross domestic product by about 1%, at the same time adding he didn’t necessarily agree with that estimate.